British Columbia

Mayor co-officiates wedding to kick off Pride Week in Victoria

Victoria Pride Week kicked off on Sunday, and to mark the festivities Mayor Lisa Helps co-officiated a wedding for two men — one of them a self-labelled Helps superfan. 

Lisa Helps says she was delighted to be asked and it was an easy decision

Dustin Miller, left, and Dragisa got married on Sunday. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps co-officiated the ceremony. (Adrien Blanc)

Victoria Pride Week kicked off on Sunday, and to mark the festivities Mayor Lisa Helps co-officiated a wedding between two men — one of them a self-labelled Helps superfan. 

Helps says Dustin Miller, who hails originally from Calgary and moved to Victoria 10 years ago, wrote her a "love letter" and asked that she officiate. 

"I wasn't going to say no," Helps said. "I was delighted to be asked."

Miller met his husband, Dragisa, on a trip to Berlin last year. Dragisa is originally from Serbia, which he says is not friendly toward gay people. The CBC has agreed to not use his last name because of his concerns about his family in Serbia.

"My parents have to not speak about me and my orientation," he said. 

Supportive community

Miller says he wanted Dragisa to feel welcome in Canada and to know that the couple has support for a happy life here. 

Helps said that was one of the reasons it was so important to her to take part in the ceremony. 

"Hopefully we can create a supportive community around him, and maybe one day his family will come to understand and even visit," she said. 

Dragisa​​​​​​​ intends to move to Canada. The sponsorship process could take up to nine months, but the happy couple doesn't seemed too concerned.

"Love is important to us and long distance is not complicated," Dragisa​​​​​​​ said.

With files from Joel Ballard

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